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World Class Manufacturing: The Next Decade

Building Power, Strength, and Value

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Since the invention of double-entry bookkeeping, managers have judged a company's worth by sales and profits. Now, Richard J. Schonberger, the architect of the worldwide Just-In-Time revolution, reaches beyond "financials" to redefine excellence -- and reveals, with new benchmark data, how pioneers become dynasties.
Schonberger's pathbreaking new research reveals that, from 1950 to 1995, while "financials" dipped and soared repeatedly, industrial decline and ascendancy correlated perfectly with inventory turnover -- one of two key nonfinancial indicators and a bedrock measure, along with customer satisfaction, of a company's power, strength, and value. In this immensely readable book, he captures these new metrics -- the true predictions of future success -- in 16 customer-focused principles created from self-scored reports supplied by over 100 pioneering manufacturers in nine countries. Armed with new world-class benchmark data, Schonberger redefines excellence in terms of competence, capability, and customer-focused, employee-driven, data-based performance.
For front-tine associates to senior executives, Schonberger has written manufacturing's action agenda for the next decade. This book will be indispensable reading for manufacturing and general managers in all industries, as well as for pension fund managers, institutional investors, stock analysts, and stockbrokers.

Discussion Group Questions
1. Why should industry evolve toward customer-focused, employee-driven, data-based principles? What are the requisites of sound world-class manufacturing company principles meaningful to any manufacturer?
2. What is the significance of inventory turnover as an indicator of long-term power, strength, and value? (Note: Richard Schonberger's inventory research included over 200 manufacturers of every stripe in four countries as of summer 1997; over 80% show the pattern of decline throughout the third quartile of this century and rise ever since)
3. What performance measures are most relevant for motivating continuous improvement?
4. Roughly score your organizational unit on the 16 principles (for this assessment to be meaningful, think in terms of a whole product family or business unit as the organization -- not a functional department). Where are your organization's strengths? Where are its weaknesses and what must be done (or is being done) to address them?
5. Are your organization's dominant measures of performance consistent with principles-based management? If not, what needs to be done?
6. What is your organization's recent year-to-year performance in becoming lean and agile, as measured by reduced inventories and cycle times? (Relates to Principle 6)
7. Is synchronized, rate based scheduling well-suited for your organization's product line and customer requisites? Why or why not? (Relates to Principle 7)
8. How successful has your organization been in "commonizing" component parts? In reducing t "a few good suppliers?" (Relates to Principle 5)

Richard J. Schonberger, PhD, is president of Schonberger & Associates of Seattle. He is the author of more than 170 articles and papers, a twelve-volume video set, and several books.

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